Cataloguing and Classification

Short Course - 15 credits at SCQF level 11
Cataloguing and Classification

This short course takes a practical, hands-on approach to classification (using the Dewey Decimal Classification and the Universal Decimal Classification) and to cataloguing (using the MARC, AACR2, and RDA standards). Students will classify items, using online WebDewey and OCLC Online, and catalogue using the RDA Toolkit and OCLC Worldcat.

The course covers library arrangement, and the organisation of collections by subject, and evaluation and use of the main bibliographic classification Schemes – DDC and UDC. We learn why and how cataloguing standards have arisen, and how the ISBD, MARC and AACR2 standards inter-operate. The development of Resource Description and Access (RDA) as a successor to AACR2 is examined, with access provided to the online RDA Toolkit. Record creation and the role of cataloguing in the networked world are emphasised, and students have access to OCLC Worldcat to create the records which constitute part of their assessed work.

This module provides the opportunity to apply the underlying principles of the most established systems in order to evaluate their suitability for organising contemporary library collections.

The course has one study option

Mode of Attendance

  • Online Learning

Mode of Study

  • Part Time

Start Date

January 2023

Course Length

15 weeks


  • Definition of classification and its context in information retrieval
  • Principles of classification construction
  • Classification requirements, notation and practical features
  • Examination of enumerative and faceted schemes
  • Reflections on future developments
  • Theory and structure of bibliographic record;. Elements and approaches
  • Codes and standards (AACR2R, MARC and ISBD(G); application of cataloguing codes and standards
  • Introduction to metadata

On completion of this module, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Discuss and justify the role of classification in the organisation of knowledge and the role of bibliographic classification schemes in the retrieval of documentary information.
  2. Appraise the theoretical and practical issues relating to the construction and uses of bibliographic classification. Develop practical skills in classification using a standard classification scheme.
  3. Construct bibliographic records conform to AACR2R and MARC standards applying appropriate headings and providing accurate bibliographic description using MARC record and field indicators.
  4. Provide a reasoned criticism of current standards for description and access, and offer constructive suggestions for their enhancement.


The University regularly reviews its courses. Course content and structure may change over time. See our course and module disclaimer for more information.

Online Learning

You will learn via our online virtual learning environment, CampusMoodle which provides you with lectures and course materials and allows you to study from any location. You will participate in active, group-related learning within a supportive online community setting. You will have access to recorded lectures and opportunities to meet up online via discussion fora and live sessions.

Activity Summary

  • 30+ students per group
  • Recorded Lectures - 2 hours per week
  • Webinar - 2-3 hours per term
  • Online learning activities - 3 hours per week
  • Independent Study - 2-3 hours per week

The course provides students with an opportunity to apply practical standards in classification and cataloguing, using the latest, online, versions of the standards, and familiarising themselves with current issues in the development of both fields. The report in each section of the course focuses on current issues, and is intended to encourage reflective thinking and critical engagement with the issues.


Individual Portfolio Assessment consisting of two individual practicals, and two reflective reports.

Independent Study

The course requires you to become independent 'open learners' and take responsibility for when, where and how your learning occurs. You will spend approximately 8-10 hours per week in the Online Learning mode of study working on your own, undertaking prescribed reading, preparing and participating in  group activities, taking part in online group discussions and other activities, researching and writing course reports.

Staff Delivering on This Course

This course is taught by a member of academic staff within Information Management with significant teaching experience, active engagement in research and scholarly activities in this area.


Academic Support

The Inclusion Centre advises and supports students who disclose a sensory or mobility impairment, chronic medical condition, mental health issue, dyslexia and other specific learning differences. Applicants are encouraged to arrange a pre-entry visit to discuss any concerns and to view the facilities.

Online Learning & Support

All online learning students, benefit from using our collaborative virtual learning environment, CampusMoodle. You will be provided with 24/7 online access to your learning material and resources, along with the ability to interact with your class members and tutors for discussion and support.

Study Skills Support

The Study Support Team provides training and support to all students in:

  • Academic writing
  • Study skills (note taking, exam techniques, time management, presentation)
  • Maths and statistics
  • English language
  • Information technology support

Library Support

The Library offers support for your course, including the books, eBooks, and journals you will need. We also offer online reading lists for many modules, workshops and drop-ins on searching skills and referencing, and much more.


Practical skills in cataloguing and classification are widely in demand by employers, principally in the library sector, although they are taught on relatively few courses. This course gives students a working knowledge of the two most popular classification schemes (the Dewey Decimal and Universal Decimal classifications), through our subscription to their continually updated online versions, allowing students to put the theoretical underpinnings taught on the course into immediate practice.

Similarly, our subscription to the online RDA Toolkit (which includes AACR2) means that students can get experience working with both the old and new cataloguing standards, while creating records directly on OCLC Worldcat. Again, this practical element is underpinned by more theoretical instruction.



The course is ideal for students who possess an undergraduate honours degree in any discipline.

All international students, for whom English is not their first language, will need either IELTS 6.5 or its equivalent in TOEFL.


For Session 2021/2022

  • £1,030

Additional Costs

The following course-related costs are not included in the course fees:

As this is an online course, access to a computer or laptop with an internet connection is a requirement. For interactive sessions students may use a headset with microphone


For new intakes course fees are reviewed and published annually for each mode of delivery. Tuition fees are fixed for the duration of a course at the rate confirmed in the offer letter. For further information see:


Have a question about the course? Get in touch with the team and we'll do our best to help.

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Taking this course, you will have access to some of the world's best facilities. 

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